Minnesota Department of Public Safety Cracks Down on Holiday Drunk Driving

The colder season is filled with holiday festivities. It is tradition for Minnesotans to partake in the merriment of Thanksgiving get-togethers, Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations. The holidays are a time to reunite with old friends and family. However, along with many of these festivities comes the spirit of overindulgence: plenty of gifts, an assortment of rich foods and, in many instances, one too many alcoholic beverages.

In the month of December 2012, Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety reported that approximately 1,300 people had been arrested for driving while intoxicated .

This was no surprise, as law enforcement has been working vigorously — especially during the holiday season — to prevent drunk driving.

The Department of Public Safety has been on a mission, urging Minnesotans to plan a sober ride if they plan to drink. Authorities recommend that individuals arrange a sober driver, walk or use public transportation if consuming alcohol.

The good news is that since 2002, there has been a downward trend of drunk driving incidents on Minnesota roadways. Yet, while drunk driving incidents are down in recent years, officials note that New Year’s Eve is still considered one of the most dangerous nights on Minnesota roads.

According to Channel 5 Eyewitness News, Minnesota State Patrol troopers used patrolling initiatives to arrest 25 people in the state for drunk driving on New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day this year. The arrests were made between the hours of 6 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The Importance of Retaining a Criminal Law Attorney

If you are found guilty of drunk driving, you face a misdemeanor punishable with up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 on your first offense. If you test .20 or more, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail or a $3,000 fine, even though it is your first offense. These are just some of the consequences associated with a conviction.

The snowy season brings extra patrolling onto Minnesota roads, and you could be caught by authorities. Just because you are arrested, however, does not automatically mean you will be found guilty. For example, if your arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to stop you or probable cause to arrest you, this could compromise the state’s case against you. Similarly, if officers administered a breath test to you and the device was not was not properly calibrated, this error could affect the admission of evidence in your case.
If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, you should contact an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney. A lawyer can assess your case and help ensure that your rights have been respected.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.